Academy Sexual Assault Reports Increase

The number of sexual assaults reported at the military service academies in the 2014-2015 school year was significantly higher than the previous year, with the largest change in reporting at the Air Force Academy, according to a report released by the Pentagon. The Air Force Academy received 49 reports of sexual assault, compared to 17 at the United States Military Academy and 25 at the Naval Academy, the report states. The number is nearly double the 25 reports the USAFA received in 2013-2014, though academy officials said they consider that year’s number—which also was much lower than the previous two years—to be an outlier. Of the 2014-15 reports, 27 were unrestricted and 22 were restricted; restricted reporting gives victims the ability to seek help and services while staying anonymous and not reporting the crime to law enforcement. Army Maj. Gen. Camille Nichols, director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, said the DOD is “encouraged” by the work the academies have done to eliminate sexual assault. “All three academies are taking innovative approaches to improve both respect and safety of cadets and midshipmen,” Nichols said in a written release. An anonymous survey conducted in the spring of 2014 concluded that the number of women sexually assaulted at the academies had decreased significantly since April 2012, and the number had also gone down for men. The next anonymous survey will be conducted this spring. (See also New Sexual Assault Prevention, Response Strategy and Air Force Sexual Assault Incidents Lowest in DOD.)